Innovative Programs


Across the country Catholic Charities agencies are managing innovative social programs to fight poverty in their local communities. 


Eating Healthy – East Chicago - Catholic Charities, Diocese of Gary

This nutrition education program, entitled, “Eating Healthy -East Chicago” was developed specifically by Catholic Charities for families in East Chicago, Indiana, with young children who depend on food pantries for a regular portion of their diet. For these families, there is often a problem with using food pantry food nutritiously. Some individuals have little knowledge of nutrition; others are unfamiliar with correct food preparation, or they don’t have equipment with which to prepare nutritious meals. This program was developed after many clients of the Catholic Charities’ Food Pantry in East Chicago expressed an interest in learning the basics of nutrition in order to provide healthy, well-balanced meals for their children.

Elizabeth’s Home - Catholic Charities of East Tennessee

Through Elizabeth’s Homes, homeless families are able to obtain housing self-sufficiency, increase skills and/or income, and achieve greater self determination. The program empowers the family to acquire new skills, resources, greater income, and a path out of homelessness. During the two year program, supportive relationships are fostered among the clients who are housed in scattered sites.  This program is built to reduce poverty one family at a time through a case management and housing process that makes use of wrap-around services in order to foster client self-determination. Case management promotes career enhancement and job placement, and the educational process includes everything from basic homemaker skills to household budgeting.

Family to Family Partnership - Catholic Charities of the East Bay, Oakland, CA

The Family to Family Partnership is a family strengthening program that helps families improve the quality of their lives by empowering them toward self-sufficiency. The program, which currently includes 13 churches and 16 parish teams, is built on the belief that personal connections between parishes and clients play a critical role in helping families become economically self-sufficient. 

Fatima Family Center - Catholic Charities Community Services Corporation, Cleveland

Originally established in 1973 as a pastoral counseling and outreach ministry of Our Lady of Fatima parish, Fatima Family Center is located in Cleveland’s Hough neighborhood and prominently anchors the community with a 26,000 square foot facility developed by Catholic Charities and dedicated in 2000. Fatima was developed as a family center model and was designed to provide programs and services for all ages, infant to older adult. Through the use of this family center model, the Center has a long history of supporting youth and families and offering programs that are designed to develop the full potential of individuals in the community through education, socialization, and personal and physical development. 

Financial Health Counseling - Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Green Bay

This budget and debt counseling services program is rooted in the belief that a strong family and community is the ultimate goal. The program looks at housing, individual development accounts, business partnerships, community awareness, diversity circles, and predatory lending to strengthen financial well-being.

Fortitude Housing - Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington

The Fortitude Housing initiative strengthens the lives of over 100 formerly homeless residents of the District of Columbia placed in permanent supportive housing through intensive case management services. Fortitude Housing recognizes the fundamental importance of housing to provide an incentive, stability and strength for people to escape the cycle of chronic homelessness by providing help and creating hope and new beginnings for the chronically homeless.

Pathways to Economic Stability - Catholic Charities of Idaho

Pathways to Economic Stability provides a range of services to improve a family’s economic position and increase stability: resume/interview workshops, computer training, and financial education. The program helps individuals gain skills and confidence to build assets and break out of the cycle of poverty.

Phoenix Housing Network - Catholic Charities of Western Washington

Phoenix Housing Network provides a broad continuum of services to homeless families with children under the age of 18 and to households at risk of becoming homeless. Their programs encourage change toward self-sufficiency by having participants develop a Family Transition Plan based on their unique family needs and strengths. On-going case management ensures participants’ progress with their plans. 

Project H.O.P.E. - Catholic Charities Community Services, Phoenix, AZ

Project H.O.P.E. (Help Out of Poverty forEver) assists people in generational poverty live a life of security, stability, and satisfaction. The program offers a continuum of services to help people investigate their own lives, develop skills, and obtain social capital, resulting in a better future. 

Provide Help Create Hope - Catholic Charities Louisville

This program helps local parishes respond more effectively and efficiently to those in need, whether situationally or chronically, and provides case management and other assistance directly to families and individuals, helping them re-establish stability and hope. While not neglecting those who have been in chronic need, a particular focus of the project is with those newly affected by current economic condition; people in “situational” and not “chronic” crisis. Provide Help Create Hope serves as a lead partner with the Archdiocese and its parishes, and other community resources, to bring the existing foundation and resources of Catholic Charities to shape and lead an effective response and reduce the instances of future crises.

Recipe for Success - New Hampshire Catholic Charities

Since 1984, the New Hampshire Food Bank (NHFB), a program of New Hampshire Catholic Charities, has provided food to qualified nonprofit programs serving the hungry throughout New Hampshire. A certified affiliate of Feeding America, the New Hampshire Food Bank is the only food warehouse distribution center in the state. In addition to food distribution, NHFB has also developed innovative outreach programs, called Recipe For Success, that seek to address the root causes of hunger. Recipe for Success is a four-part program that combines job training, nutrition education, fresh rescue, and a community garden to help serve people who are at risk of hunger.

St. Bridget’s HIV/AIDS Support Network - Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark

The St. Bridget’s HIV/AIDS Support Network enables HIV-positive persons to maintain access to the continuum of HIV services through the incorporation of integral service components including case management, substance abuse services, and nutritionally balanced meals within an emergency and transitional housing setting. Since 1991, St. Bridget’s HIV/AIDS Support Network has offered a wide array of support services from a single location including: emergency shelter and transitional housing; case management; social & recreational adult day program; meals and food referrals; life skills; health education; referrals to affiliated medical services for the diagnosis and treatment of HIV/AIDS-related illnesses; transportation; specialized counseling for coping with HIV/AIDS; advocacy for and assistance with obtaining government entitlements; direct provision of emergency entitlements; referrals to “in-house” vocational assessment, training and placement; and referrals to other community-based providers of services.

St. Leo Campus - Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago

The St. Leo Campus is comprised of four different programs designed to improve the community’s capacity to serve its veterans through stable housing, job training, addiction support and counseling. All of Catholic Charities Veterans Initiatives are designed to help formerly homeless veterans achieve self-sufficiency and prevent homelessness through employment services and the provision of affordable housing.

St. Patrick Center - Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of St. Louis

Founded in 1983, this agency has served over 132,000 homeless and impoverished people since its inception and now provides comprehensive, holistic services for about 9,000 people each year. The center’s 28 programs are designed to take extremely disadvantaged individuals from mere subsistence to lifelong self-sufficiency. The center focuses on the three basic areas that contribute to ongoing homelessness and poverty — housing, employment, and mental health.

Tepeyac Haven - Catholic Charities of Spokane

Tepeyac Haven is a 45-unit affordable housing complex that serves migrant farm laborers. The program helps workers settle into housing, become stable in the community, and begin to build assets. 

The Caritas Center’s Continuum of Care - Catholic Charities of Kansas City – St. Joseph

This family center offers a continuum of comprehensive programs and strong advocacy for all clients. The mission and programs focus on reducing poverty through an innovative, dual strategy. The dual approach addresses the wide-ranging needs of clients in the moment and geography of their need, while further empowering and strengthening grassroots social service agencies across the region to successfully combat the formidable strains of poverty. 

The Diocesan Immigration Support Network - Catholic Charities of Sacramento, Inc.

This program provides leadership training and ongoing support to Parish Leaders, appointed by their Pastor. These leaders mobilize their parish community in support of the U.S. Bishops’ advocacy efforts for Comprehensive Immigration Reform; conduct listening campaigns in their parishes to surface parishioners’ concerns related to immigration; build relationships with local elected or community officials, such as city and county government, business leaders, and law enforcement; and organize their parish community to advocate for changes in structures to keep people out of poverty.

The HOMES Program - Catholic Charities of Fort Worth

The HOMES program works with chronic homeless individuals and families to find a permanent end to each person’s homelessness. The program works with individuals through every step of the process beginning with initial engagement on the street or in shelters. Through every interaction with the program’s previously homeless individuals, the program staff use a strengths-based, client-centered approach.

The Thomas Merton Campus - Catholic Charities of Fairfield County

The Thomas Merton Campus is located in the heart of the poorest area (the Hollow) in the largest and poorest city in Connecticut, Bridgeport. It is also part of Fairfield County, the wealthiest County in the Country and a very difficult place to be poor. The campus addresses all five issue areas of Catholic Charities USA’s Campaign to Reduce Poverty in America: health, housing, hunger, economic security, and education/job training. The Thomas Merton Center is a fully contained, holistic approach to fighting the poverty battle and creating a ladder of human dignity.

Wheels for Work - Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany

Launched in 2001, Wheels for Work invites individuals and families residing in the local communities of upstate NY to donate their used cars to Catholic Charities. In turn, these vehicles are mechanically serviced and given to individuals and families whose household incomes fall within 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. While the lack of car ownership can attribute to individuals staying in lower-paying jobs and/or not securing better paying positions, Catholic Charities have found that other underlying factors may keep a number of families entrenched in poverty, namely lack of education, low skill sets, inadequate housing, medical and child care issues. The Wheels for Work caseworkers provide case management to identify these interfering variables and work with the applicants to find their way through these barriers.